Tampa Bay kept longtime star linebacker Lavonte David in-house on Tuesday by signing him to a contract extension before he could become a free agent.
David and the Buccaneers agreed to a two-year contract extension of $25 million per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. Tampa also found a way to “get creative” with David’s contract to minimize the salary cap hit per ESPN’s Jenna Laine. David will make $3.5 million against the cap since his contract has three voidable years. His contract also gives him $20 million guaranteed according to Laine.
Tampa reportedly “had roughly $15 million in salary-cap space, according to Roster Management”, Laine wrote.
The Bucs drafted David in 2012, and he stuck with the team through its lean years before helping the franchise win its second Super Bowl in the 2020 season. David tallied 117 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and an interception in 2020.
“It took me nine years to finally get to the playoffs, and then actually win it all, so it’s definitely something I’m thankful for and something that I kind of just soak it all in,” David told SiriusXM NFL Radio on March 5.
A first-team All-Pro in 2013 and Pro Bowler in 2015, David gave the Bucs reliability on defense in his first nine seasons, recording more than 100 tackles in eight of those per CBS Sports.
David also brings durability to the table. He missed seven snaps last season per Laine. The former Nebraska star played in all but six games during the past nine seasons.
David’s Wait for 2021
David didn’t give a clear answer on whether he would stay home in his interview with SiriusXM. “I don’t know what to expect. Just go with the flow,” David said.
“My mind has been off it,” David told Sirius XM. “I just sit back and let my agent handle all of that stuff, and whenever he comes back with news, he gives that to me whenever.”
David maintained that he wants to keep the Super Bowl team together per SiriusXM.
“From my understanding, everyone wants to come back,” David told SiriusXM, noting that there’s a lot of factors for each player to consider.
David shared his delight in staying with the Bucs on Tuesday via Instagram. “Grinding in them trenches with my dogs! No better feeling,” David wrote, followed by the hashtag “two more”.
Keep the Crew on Ship
Bucs head coach Bruce Arians spoke adamantly about David, among other star players, staying during the team’s boat parade after the Super Bowl per CBS Sports. “He ain’t going nowhere,” Arians said.
Arians said as much Feb. 10 per CBS Sports regarding another key player the Bucs secured on Tuesday — wide receiver Chris Godwin. The Bucs franchise-tagged its star receiver earlier in the day.
Tampa took big steps in shoring up 2021’s roster but has more work to do as signing star linebacker Shaquil Barrett being a likely next step per CBS Sports’ Adam Schein.
Barrett, who the Bucs franchise-tagged in 2020, could command a big payday upon free agency opening. He said he wants to “break the bank” this year. David’s three voidable years on his contract gives the Bucs a chance to keep Barrett and more per Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times.